Four victims of a car accident, whose lives are intertwined in ways they don’t imagine, try to convince Saint Peter to let them through the Pearly Gate of Heaven. Some make it, some don't.
Virginia, an elderly woman wearing a silly, oversize hat attempts to walk though the Pearly Gate. But something is holding her back. She can’t imagine why. Certainly she, of all people, deserves to go to Heaven. Then she notices Saint Peter, and the Gnarly Gate. At first she admonishes the dignified Saint Peter. How dare he keep her out of Heaven! But as they begin to explore her life, she realizes she is responsible for the car accident that caused her death, and that of three other individuals. And she is forced to accept the resentment she has towards her mother (as symbolized by the hat). Only then is Virginia able to walk through the Pearly Gate, without the hat.
Kevin, a troubled young man, at first believes he’s been abducted by aliens. But when he realizes that he is actually dead, Saint Peter appears, this time dressed as a hack comedian. The two of them banter about the young man’s life, and we discover that he has a connection to Virginia. Kevin tries to make an argument for how he’s lived his life, only to be mocked by the sarcastic Saint Peter. Fortunately, Kevin’s last act on earth was to swerve away from a little boy and crash into a ditch, (due to the accident Virginia caused). For that sacrifice, Saint Peter gives him permission to walk through the Pearly Gate. Kevin doesn’t quite believe him, though, until Virginia steps back through and drags him into Heaven.
Brad, an arrogant lawyer, and Doris, his young wife, appear before Saint Peter, who is dressed as a trial judge with a laptop. The audience is informed that they will determine the outcome of the trial. Brad is convinced that he can bullshit his way into Heaven, while Doris wants to throw herself on the mercy of the audience. As Saint Peter grills Brad and Doris, and the details of their life and relationship emerge. We learn that Brad secretly had a child with another woman. The boy’s name is Kevin. When it comes to time for the audience to render their judgment, Doris is found innocent, while Brad is found guilty. As he is pulled towards the Gnarly Gate, against his will, he reaches out and grabs Doris. She tries to break away, but Brad is too strong. It seems like he’s going to drag her into Hell with him. Then Doris spies Virginia’s hat, lying on the ground. She picks it up, and finally finding the courage to stand up for herself, smacks Brad hard. He lets go and disappea rs behind the Gnarly Gate to the sound of sizzling oil. Doris gets up and walks through the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter then turns the spotlight on the audience and asks: “Who’s next?”
Saint Peter at the Gate was performed at the Cheshire Unicorn Theatre in Toronto, Canada and the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton, Florida.
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